Monday, October 31, 2011

Five Minutes of Fame.

I know everyone thinks they have the best grandparents around, but really, mine win. Because they aren't awesome grandparents, they are awesome people.

I don't know how many times they've made us (the grandchildren) things, gone out of their way to get us something, driven to us and back home in one day just to watch us get an award... they are getting extra jewels on their crowns in heaven.

They are so cute together. I want to be like them when I'm that age. My grandpa loves woodworking, and up until this year, that's all he did. He would go out into his self-built shop, while my grandma stayed in the kitchen and cooked up some of her wonderfulness.

Turns out, they are so awesome, that the local newspaper wanted to feature them in a story again (this is NOT the first time people have found out how awesome they are.)

Here's a link to see pictures, but I'm afraid that the article will be taken down, so... here's the story!

"Orin Shogren wasn't about to let his 3-year-old granddaughter miss out on Halloween.

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1993, Jessica Shogren dressed up for the holiday, just like all the kids, but her intake of treats was strictly monitored.

"I could never eat much candy. It lasted an entire year," said Jessica, now 21, who was reared in Satanta in southwest Kansas.

Through her childhood, when she visited family in Salina, Jessica knew that sugar was not an issue when she rang grandpa Orin Shogren's doorbell. To her heart, his offerings were priceless.

The wooden figurines of cats, ghosts, goblins and other seasonal creatures he began fashioning in a basement shop -- now in a shop out back -- became a hit to Jessica and her grandpa's five other grandchildren.

"It was really cool seeing the things he would create for us," said Jessica, now a senior at West Texas A&M University in Canyon.

"It's just a special way of showing his love for us. Our grandparents are really loving toward everyone, not just family," she said.

The handcrafted artwork also made Orin a neighborhood star. The Shogrens live in the 900 block of Sunrise Drive.

"I usually make 45 or 50 of them. It's nothing fancy. They're very crude things, but that's what they want," said Orin, 80. This year, Shogren's saws have been silent, thanks to his bad back and broken finger.

"It just didn't work out this year," Orin said. "Maybe I'll do it again next year."

The tradition he began some 18 years ago has contributed to making the holiday special for many youngsters, some who are now just young at heart.

"We have a couple of kids who are in their 20s, who dress up and come to our house every Halloween to get the things that he makes," said Dorothy Shogren, Orin's wife.

Keenan Bowles, 13, who lives in the 1100 block of Sunrise Drive, targets the Shogren house every year, aiming to add to his collection.

"I think it's pretty cool," he said. "I've gone there since I was a little kid. I thought it was pretty unique and nice that he made things himself and gave them out to people."

Shogren's treats met with the approval of Staci Arnold, Keenan's mom.

"They get plenty of candy, and that's something we can keep," she said.

They're important to Keenan, Arnold said, judging from her son's near "meltdown" two years ago when their trick-or-treating excursion arrived late to the Shogrens.

"(Orin) had just handed out the last one," Arnold said.

Luckily, Keenan was able to negotiate a trade with a girl and snared another figurine for his collection.

While he's not thrilled that no figurines will be available tonight, Keenan understands.

"If (Orin) has a problem, he shouldn't have to make them," Keenan said.

Shogren doesn't confine his handiwork to Halloween, Jessica said. He gifts grandkids with other creations throughout the year, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"He's an awesome grandpa, and that's an understatement," Jessica said.

But don't think grandma goes unnoticed.

"Grandpa's carpentry skills are matched with her cooking skills," Jessica said.

Molasses cookies are her favorite."

(Story by Tim Unruh at the Salina Journal)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


October Weekend.

Dear Boyfriend,

I can't tell you how glad I am we share a love of Chinese food and fortune cookies. I say we incorporate this into our list of goals, maybe.. eat at every Chinese restaurant in Georgia? P.F. Chang's in Birmingham was good, but we obviously have to test out the one in Atlanta sometime.

The bakery and deli were obviously my favorite parts of my first visit to Publix. nom nom. Perfect way to start my arrival in Georgia.

You always said Georgia is beautiful in the fall, and you were so right. Wow.

Only we would eat lunch in your car in the Publix parking lot before my big interview. I'm almost positive the DP Ten (and the dance party) helped me in the interview. The creepy smoker guy who stared at us from his car, not so much...

I'm glad you understand and/or encourage my love of photography. It's nice to have someone help you choose good photography spots, rather than grudgingly follow along. Photo adventures are the best way to kill time, even in random towns we don't even know our way around.

And I finally got to go to my first corn maze! Even if I was horrible at it... oops. But, the hay ride was fun :) Maybe next year we can do the jumping pillow... Any reason to be with Glorieta family and you at the same time!

Amicalola Falls is going to a be a frequent spot for us, I can already tell. But, next time I will make sure and bring proper hiking attire, instead of moccasins. I also enjoy the fact that we blatantly ignored the "stay on the trail" signs. We're such big rebels. 
Us in this picture > the group of old people we took a picture of, in terms of cuteness.

I hope we have a backyard someday, so we can just lay around in the grass, relaxing in the shade. But, if any more dogs run up to us, we're putting up a fence. I don't care if that dog was only the size of my foot! 

You and your chef's hat... adorable, really. I think I'm going to have to design some signs for the kitchen to match.

Another fall first - carving my first pumpkin. Okay, really, you carved most of it while I sat there. Just means I have to practice and carve a pumpkin every year. We can roast the pumpkin seeds, and then spit them at each other on the porch... it'll be a yearly tradition, unless the neighbors report us.

Church is a rare occasion for us, due to the flight schedules. But, it's a favorite of mine when it does happen. Your church has prettier surroundings than mine :)

Leaving you is always the worst part of the weekend. This trip home was even worse thanks to that Dallas fog. But, hopefully that'll be the last time it happens.

Love you, miss you, see you on New Year's Eve :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pumpkin Pudding.

I bought pumpkin puree in the hopes of trying a Pinterest recipe... but they all called for 10+ ingredients that I didn't feel like buying.

So, instead, I just formed my own simple recipe.

Sugar-free pudding mix (add milk as it calls for)
Can of pumpkin puree
1-2 tbsp. of sugar
Few shakes of cinnamon/pumpkin spice
One small shake of salt.

Mix and let sit.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Home is where the heart is...

Monday was a day of frustration.

Woke up at 2 a.m. unable to sleep - didn't need to be up until 3:30.
Long line at security in the Birmingham airport.
No breakfast.

Little things, really. But then, the fun really started.

A heavy fog in Dallas prevented our plane from landing. Four hours later than needed/expected, I finally walk in to the DFW airport... mass chaos. I had to stand in a long line to find a new flight.

Wait, wait, wait.

I start getting emotional. I'm running on three hours of sleep, I'm sick, exhausted in all aspects, hungry, missing Aaron, wanting someone to talk to, and then my phone dies. I sit by a trash can, on the floor, plug-in my cell charger, and eat a Cinnabon (the second thing I'd eaten all day)... in tears.

I stand in line (for the third time), to get a boarding pass for a "guaranteed" flight. Mmhmm. "Your name is not on here. We can put you on stand-by, and if you don't get on then, you'll for sure be on the next flight." I even tried pulling the I'm-a-diabetic card, and it backfired.

But, my name was called, finally. I got on the 5:30 flight. Even got front row... it was center seat, between two elderly people each doing their own crossword, but I was going home.

The pilot announced we were descending into Amarillo. I looked out the window to at the sunset, combined with clouds that made it look like we were flying into heaven. I smiled, and thought to myself, "mmmmm..." and then my thought stopped.

I realized, that thought is typically followed by the word home.

Two things hit me at that moment.

I've been struggling with discontent in being in Texas, away from Aaron. I dreaded saying good-bye, coming back to school, being away from him for another two months. But, those five hours in the airport, my only thought was I-want-to-go-home. But, "home" has two places in my heart right now. Seeing the sunset, and the huge relief of being done with travel made me appreciate this home more. I felt God telling me to stop and enjoy this season, these people, this area.

I felt trapped in the airport. Alone, and trapped. It was just a transition (and a long one, at that). I freaked out. I got emotional. I knew I was going to leave eventually, I wasn't really trapped. I kept saying there was a reason for all of it, and looking back it was just a lesson. I'm in a slow transition in life right now. Slow is not in my vocabulary. I want to jump on the next plane of life.

Maybe I'm starting to disconnect, to try and transition. Maybe I'm wrong for feeling this way. Maybe it's normal. I don't know. I'm still learning. How do I stop looking forward to something so exciting, and enjoy this moment?

For the first time in three years, this area does not feel like home to me.
Home is where the heart is...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pinterest Recipe #2.

Continuing with our theme of Pinterest recipes, we switched it up a little with a lunch.

This recipe is INCREDIBLE. I know, it sounds weird, maybe even gross. If you eat turkey burgers, or ground turkey, instead of hamburger meat - and think it tastes the same... this is the same way. There is a little different texture, but same taste. We ate the entire pizza between two of us (shhh...)

Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza

Before and after. See, told you we ate it all!

Use whatever toppings you want. We loaded it with toppings, because that's how we like it. Ours had olives, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and cheese.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pinterest Night #1.

So, you've heard of Pinterest, right? If not, go sign up - right now.

It's basically a place to visually keep bookmarks. You post ("pin") things you find on the internet; designs, cool things for your house, recipes, tutorials and tricks for anything, photography, etc. etc.

Well, Taylor and I decided to start cooking two weekly recipes that we find on Pinterest. Last night was the first night, and it was a huge success - especially considering my huge lack of cooking skills.

Avocado and Grilled Corn Salad (with grilled chicken)

The recipe can be found here.

But, since we try to save money on groceries we did a little editing:
No vinegar,
Cilantro flakes (in the seasonings) instead of real cilantro, 
Canned corn instead of husked corn, and
More feta than it called for.

This makes a TON, so although it is excellent, it's not great for two people. Either cut the recipe in half, or plan on eating this with every meal for several days. We also used it as a "dip" with chips, after eating it with chicken. I ate it with some egg for breakfast this morning (okay, that wasn't as good as I thought it might be.)

Helpful hint: keep the middle of the avocado in the bowl to help keep it from turning brown!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Right Doors.

You try one door after another, yet no one responds to your résumé. No university accepts your application. No doctor has a solution for your illness. No buyers look at your house.

Obstacles pack your path. Road, barricaded. Doorway, padlocked.
Do you know the frustration of a blocked door?

God uses closed doors to advance his cause.

He closed the womb of a young Sarah so he could display his power to the elderly one. He shut the palace door on Moses the prince so he could open shackles through Moses the liberator. He marched Daniel out of Jerusalem so he could use Daniel in Babylon. And Jesus. Yes, even Jesus knew the challenge of a blocked door. When he requested a path that bypassed the cross, God said no. He said no to Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane so he could say yes to us at the gates of heaven.

It’s not that our plans are bad but that God’s plans are better. 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your waysand my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
(Isa. 55:8–9 NLT)

Your blocked door doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. Quite the opposite. It’s proof that he does.
[taken from Max Lucado devotional]

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Life is so chaotic.

I just want a break, just a measly two days of nothingness would suffice. I just need a chance to catch my breath, I feel like since day one I hit the ground running and haven't slowed down yet. Thankfully, I have been enjoying my classes. I haven't had to deal with mundane classes and homework like geology or history.

Doing more and more freelance this semester has also made me more excited to become a "real" designer, to have a real design job.

So, here I am, struggling to be content. I'm being pulled between wanting to graduate tomorrow and move, and wanting time to slow down so that I can breathe, and enjoy the last of my college days. I've been told not to grow up too fast, but it's hard when I've started job searching, I have my first job interview in two weeks, printing resumes, etc.

I've always been ready for the next step of the game, wanting to move on.

But, here I am trying to learn patience and contentment, waiting on His timing.